The Rider-Waite is easily the most popular Tarot deck, having sold by far the most copies as well as having inspired countless clones and other RWS-styled offshoots. The RWS is the easiest deck for beginners to pick up and use right away without much, if any, need for study of occult concepts. This deck departs from tradition (and started a tradition of its own), replacing pip cards in favor of easy-to-interpret scenarios pictured on the Minor Arcana. The elimination of elemental dignities in favor of using Etteilla’s cartomancy reversals simplified the reading process even further. The RWS delivers blunt readings that are difficult to misinterpret. Today the vast majority of readers learn how to use this deck before any other.
The Surrealist Tarot is an unorthodox deck with a unique twist of humor. Not relying on the customary structure of the RWS nor the Thoth structure, Surrealist instead employs a set of 12 core Majors based on the LaVey Personality Synthesizer. The LPS is a brilliantly practical system of classifying personality types based on criteria such as mentality, body type, and ego (shown by choice of automobiles). Imagery is reminiscent of everything from Star Trek to Super Mario Bros.
A very dark deck, the Diary of a Broken Soul is a gateway to the dimension of Jahanam, rendered from the visions of Ash Abdullah’s three year soul search. Jahanam is a mysterious world that shadows the commonly perceived mundane reality. In Jahanam thoughts and ideas are tangible and emotions have faces. This is a sublime Diary of personal exploration and therapy, encouraging the often painful process of digging deep into the unconscious mind in order to face one’s deepest fears.
The bifrost (stylized lower case) Tarot is an occult deck rooted in Thoth/GD tradition, also influenced by the teachings of several of those who followed in Aleister Crowley’s footsteps as well as mystical teachings from all corners of history. bifrost was designed for those who have a strong appreciation for the highest mystical traditions, as well as an acceptance of new spiritual understandings, which often serve to debase one’s convictions. Despite having modernized and easy to recognize symbolism which departs from the old occult style of Thoth, the nature of bifrost’s rich occult depth may make it potentially difficult for beginners, as it would take years of study to fully grasp. Those who are not prepared to deal with uncomfortable revelations may not want to use this deck, as it is intended for spiritually-developed individuals who are not prone to making ordinary egocentric judgements.
You can feel the vibrations of the Langustl Tarot, which relies on both Crowley’s and Waite’s Tarot ideologies, along with a combination of other systems such as astrology, kabbalah, and numerology. Stephan "Langustl" Lange’s simplistic style of art is pulsating with life, using brilliant color and contrast to portray the feelings of each card. This deck is certainly approachable for a beginner, but of course a better understanding of the systems the deck employs makes for deeper readings. If you understand the Rider-Waite very well, you already know this deck.